This video provides an in-depth look at how to control compulsive eating by working with your thoughts.
To get a handle on compulsive eating, you must understand the compulsions driving the eating.
Why do you get caught with such cravings? Why do such thoughts cross your mind?
This post specifically deals with how to handle intrusive thoughts, which are some of the most powerful forces driving and forcing you to automatically eat.
To be fair and balanced, to truly stop compulsive eating you have to learn and practice more skills than stopping intrusive thoughts.
I will briefly list these skills here and provide a quick big picture 10,000 foot description so you can see how these all fit together.
First, some other additional skills to stop compulsive eating:
- meet emotional needs
- listen to belly and hunger
- get feedback on nutrition via your body
- learn to enjoy food at an emotional level
- understand triggers, your “story” and your relationship with food
And also – dealing with compulsive thoughts which is the topic of this article.
Let’s dive in!
The basic premise is you need to first become aware of your thoughts before you are able to shift your thoughts.
Before we dive into how to do this, one word of importance.
It takes awhile to gain this skill. You need to have realistic expectations going forward or else you’ll feel like a failure when you keep having thoughts and keep getting thrown into negative spirals.
As you practice these techniques here, you’ll improve. These techniques are based on the firmly established science of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy which has been proven to work with Eating Disorders, including compulsive eating, with great effectiveness.
But you’ll have to practice, and overtime you’ll see transformative results.
Okay let’s continue:
The technique is called “narration”.
When I first learned this technique as an official Cognitive Behavioral Therapy technique I was very surprised.
Because I had already heard of this technique being practiced as a form of meditation.
In East Asia, monks are given this method as means to quiet their mind. Paradoxically however, this technique actually works by vocally (internally or aloud) saying what you see and experience.
If you want to read more on this overlap between buddhism and psychology, you can visit this BBC article here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/guides/zqrx34j
When you do this technique, what you will see and experience firsthand is the power of your intrusive thoughts to disrupt your attention and hijack your mind.
You will experience this firsthand.
By experiencing this hijacking firsthand, you will realize that your intrusive thoughts happen automatically.
This will give you the Power Back. Your Power will come back as you realize this intrusive thoughts happen automatically.
This way, you won’t react and make a negative thought turn into 10 negative thoughts!!!
Let’s give an example.
- First you start out by saying aloud (or quietly to yourself) things that you notice around you.
- You say things like “I see a cat” “I see a chair” “I see a wall” “I see paper”.
- Eventually you will have an intrusive thought and a chain reaction.
- This will look like “I see a pen” “Dammit!!! I had tons of food today. I can’t believe I am such a worthless failure. I am never going to lose weight. I always fail.”
- As you practice this technique you will see that these intrusive thoughts just happen automatically …
Which means you NEED to expect these Automatic thoughts to occur. This is of the utmost importance.
By expecting these thoughts to occur, it doesn’t make the thoughts go away.
Have you ever tried to make your thoughts go away, but couldn’t?
And then felt like a failure?
We don’t want that. We want to expect that these thoughts are going to come back and bug you.
Paradoxically, expecting these thoughts is one of the greatest enlightenments we can have.
When you expect these thoughts, you don’t beat yourself up as much for them.
You can then gain “headspace” around these thoughts to change them.
How do you change an automatic negative thought?
Well, instead of hating yourself and resenting yourself for having this negative thought …
You can start to evaluate this negative thought instead.
You can look at if there are any facts behind this negative thought, for starters.
How many times have you thought to yourself, “I am a 100% irredeemable failure!”
Well, what are the facts behind this thought. Is it true that you are a 100% failure? Maybe you are only 50% of a failure. But a 100% is too extreme.
Are you truly irredeemable? No.
By seeing this thoughts differently, you can program your mind differently.
For another video I made on a related topic “How to reduce stress by meeting your emotional needs”, please view here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qB7-zWh2PKM